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June 18 , 2010

Columbus Pride festival is too big for just one day

Columbus--For the 29th annual Pride Parade and Festival this weekend, Stonewall Columbus decided to go big. Too big, in fact, for just one day.

This year�s Columbus Pride Festival will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 18 and 19, a change from the one-day festivals that marked the first 27 incarnations.

With a big festival, of course, comes the need for a big theme: Celebrate Our Families. The theme is reflected in the selection of grand marshals for the parade--Tom Grote, his partner Rick Neal, their daughter Amoret and the rest of their family.

Thirteen-month-old Amoret is one of the reasons Grote stepped down as board chair of Equality Ohio in 2008.

That dedication to family will be reflected throughout Columbus Pride, with a special section of the June 19 parade, immediately behind the grand marshals, being reserved for families.

Those who wish to be in that part of the parade are encouraged to meet at 11 am on Front Street between Broad and State downtown to march together to Goodale Park.

The parade will go from there, east on Broad to High, then follow High north to Buttles Ave. in the Short North, ending at Dennison next to the park.

Both days of the festival will see an expanded family area with dozens of activities and demonstrations.

Among the fun for children will be a bounce house, a bounce slide, inflatable sumo wrestling, a double-dutch clinic, a pie-eating contest, kickball, musical chairs and more. There will even be activities for the older members of the family, with Pokerkeno and bocce ball.

Of course, one of the prime elements of the Pride festival is the entertainment, and there will be something there for everyone, which is to be expected from Ohio�s longest-running Pride event.

Each of the two days features dozens of performers running the gamut from drag queens and kings to rock and roll and dance music.

Friday�s hosts are Nina and Virginia west and Luster de la Virgion, and other performers include Mikayla Denise, the Real Thing, Wonder Twin Powers, No Shade, Sick of Sarah, 8 Inch Betsy, the Katie Todd Band, the Rosie Burgess Trio, rapper Unecc, CirqueTacular, LiquorBoxx, JJ Cox, Mary B, Pickle and belly dancers galore, along with Derrick Barry�s impersonation of Britney Spears.

Barry returns on Saturday as Lady Gaga, as do CirqueTacular, Sick of Sarah and the Rosie Burgess Trio, who will more than likely simply be themselves.

Other Saturday performers include Paradiso Girls, the Josh Zuckerman Band, Coyote Grace, the Jeff Altergott Band, the Fabulous Johnson Brothers, World Famous Weed Eaters, Nervous but Excited, Chelsea Mae, Diana Chittester, Untouchable, Society Rejects, Dalyrical, Jaeveon and Vanity Theft.

Also performing on Saturday are Columbus institutions like the Flaggots, Capital Pride Band, the Columbus Women�s Chorus and the Columbus Gay Men�s Chorus.

The festival runs from 3 to 11 pm on Friday, 10 am-8 pm on Saturday. For more information, go to www.columbuspride.org.

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